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Facts and figures

Cancer statistics in Australia

  • In 2020, it was estimated that there were just under 150,000 new cases of cancer diagnosed and just under 50,000 deaths from cancer
  • One in two Australian men and women will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85.1
  • Cancer is a leading cause of death in Australia – almost 50,000 deaths from cancer were estimated for 2019. 1
  • In 2014, cancer was the second most common cause of death in Australia and accounted for about three in 10 deaths.1,3
  • Around 25,000 more people die each year from cancer compared to 1982. This is due mainly to population growth and ageing.1 However, the death rate (number of deaths per 100,000 people) has fallen by more than 24%.
  • In the 1980s, the cancer survival rate was less than 50%. Today, almost seven in 10 Australians will survive for at least five years after a cancer diagnosis and in some cancers the survival is as high as 90%.1
  • The most common cancers in Australia (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) are prostatebreastcolorectal (bowel)melanoma and lung cancer. These five cancers account for about 60% of all cancers diagnosed in Australia.1
  • In 2008, it was estimated that every year around 434,000 people will be diagnosed with one or more non-melanoma skin cancers in Australia. 4
  • In 2016, there were 679 Australians who died from non-melanoma skin cancer.1,5
  • In 2016-18, $252 million in funding was provided for cancer research projects and programs in Australia.6

Find out more about the cancer statistics in your state or territory

More facts and figures

See cancer types and skin cancer facts and figures.

The most recently published national cancer incidence and mortality figures are in the Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality (ACIM) books. The books can be viewed on the AIHW website. The AIHW website contains a range of useful publications.

Media enquiries about cancer facts or statistics should be directed to our Media and Communications team.

Where can I get more information?

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Australian Bureau of Statistics


  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019. Cancer in Australia: In brief 2019. Cancer series no. 122. Cat no. CAN 126. Canberra: AIHW.
  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2012. Cancer incidence projections: Australia, 2011 to 2020. Cancer series no. 66. Cat no. CAN 62. Canberra: AIHW.
  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare & Australasian Association of Cancer Registries 2017. Cancer in Australia: in brief 2017. Cancer series no. 102. Cat no. CAN 101. Canberra: AIHW.
  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare & Cancer Australia 2008. Non-melanoma skin cancer: general practice consultations, hospitalisations and mortality. Cancer series no. 43. Cat no. 39. Canberra: AIHW.
  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2018. ACIM (Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality) Books. Canberra: AIHW.
  • Cancer Australia 2016. Cancer research in Australia 2016 to 2018: Opportunities for strategic research investment – Highlights. Cancer Australia, Surry Hills, NSW.
  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2020. Cancer data in Australia: web report 2020. Cancer series no. 122. Canberra: AIHW

Looking ahead

With your help, we'll continue funding the brightest minds all over Australia to push even more boundaries and break new ground